Saturday, November 26, 2011
George Kunda is used to stage-managing things
By The Post
Sat 26 Nov. 2011, 12:00 CAT
Business and individuals do well in a strong and decent community of people with principles and standards and common aims and values.
Where there is abuse of power and public office, where there is corruption, honest business does not do well. Only dishonest business thrives or prospers under an environment of corruption, abuse of public office, corruption, bribery and all other related vices. Therefore, a correction or reversal of corrupt transactions cannot be seen as undermining the confidence of investors as George Kunda seems to suggest. It actually increases investor confidence.
The Zamtel deal was born twisted, corrupt and stinking. From the very beginning, that transaction was not straight and we are not surprised that the Commission of Inquiry has confirmed everything we had said at the beginning of that transaction. There was nothing above board in that transaction as George is suggesting. That was simply a corrupt deal that has to be reversed. And if people like George continue pushing that type of line, the best thing would be just to arrest and prosecute all those who were involved in this deal and corruptly benefited from it. Public offices were abused in that transaction and there is nothing George can say that will convince Zambian people that all was above board.
George claims that the findings of the Zamtel sale Commission of Inquiry which revealed glaring evidence of illegality and fraudulent transactions was stage-managed. We disagree.
Stage-managed for what and how? We know that this is how George and his boss Rupiah Banda used to operate - they stage-managed everything, including court proceedings. They got the result they wanted in everything. They wanted Frederick Chiluba acquitted, they stage-managed everything and got him acquitted. We are not saying so, it is them who said so.
Rupiah made it very clear to the whole country, to the whole world that it was him who freed Chiluba from going to jail for corruption. How did he do it? He didn't tell us. But Chiluba was acquitted by magistrate Jones Chinyama. This means that if it was Rupiah who freed Chiluba, then the order to acquit him must have flowed from Rupiah.
How? By abusing the entire judicial process through connivance with those who administered the justice system. And this is why we have insisted that Chief Justice Ernest Sakala, Director of Public Prosecutions Chalwe Mchenga, George and Rupiah should be made to explain their role in the acquittal or freeing of Chiluba.
Of course, this is not the only thing they stage-managed. Many things were stage-managed. They even stage-managed the refusal to register the London High Court judgment that was obtained by the Zambian government against Chiluba.
But there is a problem here. Crooked people, dishonest people, those who stage-manage things think everything is done that way, think everyone stage-manages things. They judge other people by their own standards and practices. Dishonest people have difficulties accepting that there is anyone in this world who is honest. Corrupt people usually believe that everyone has a price, everything is about money. Our own and only explanation for all this is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum. And the only way evil fights good is to smear it with the filth of evil, to discredit it so that people lose faith in the possibility of anyone or anything being good.
If George and his friends lacked integrity in the handling of public affairs, they shouldn't think that other people also lack integrity. If George and his friends stage-managed everything, they shouldn't think that other people also stage-manage everything. It is not right for George to start judging others by his own standards - the standards of crooks, dishonest and corrupt elements. They manipulated everything they did but it is not right for them to think that everyone does the same.
Reversing the Zamtel sale to Libya's LAP Green will not erode investor confidence in our country. If this deal is reversed, investor confidence in our country will increase because all honest investors abhor corruption and would like to invest in a country that is free from corruption.
If this transaction is reversed, Zambia will be seen as a country that doesn't tolerate corruption, dishonesty, bribery and so on and so forth. And to honest investors, a country that does that is seen to be safe to invest in.
Only crooks will keep away from a country that doesn't tolerate corruption and other abuses of power. Only corrupt elements will keep away from such a country. And in truth, we don't need that type of investors; and already there are too many of them in our country. What we need is honest investment from honest investors. If by reversing the Zamtel deal dishonest investors, crooked business keep away from our country or fear to come to our country, then that will be a very good thing because we don't need them. What we want is honest investment and honest investors will want to do business in a country where there is transparency, honesty and integrity, especially in the top leadership of a country.
Incorruptibility is part of the essence of self-respect for the people and their leaders. Honest investors want to deal with incorruptible leaders, those they don't have to pay bribes.
It is very clear that those who were in the leadership at the time of the sale of Zamtel to LAP Green structured that transaction to benefit themselves. We have no doubt that, one way or another, money moved into their pockets as a result of that transaction. That deal has not benefited the country in any way. And it was corruptly procured. Yes, George is right when he says that Michael Sata's government should take over the obligations entered into by the previous government. But where things that were corruptly entered into for the benefit of a few individuals can be reversed, they should be reversed.
And the Zamtel deal is one such deal that can easily be reversed by simply giving back to LAP Green what belongs to LAP Green and to the people of Zambia what belongs to the people of Zambia. If people enter into corrupt deals on the assurance that whoever takes over from them will not be able to change anything or reverse anything, then it would be impossible to fight corruption.
If George and his friends had entered into the Zamtel deal thinking whatever its state, the Zambian people are saddled with it and nothing can change, they were deceiving themselves. This deal will be changed because it is truly illegal and fraudulent. LAP Green can go to court if they want. It is their right. But this is not the first time a corrupt deal is being reversed. George himself, as Attorney General and Minister of Justice under Levy Mwanawasa, got the Zambian government out of such deals and some matters even went as far as court in England. So what is George talking about? If George has nothing to say, the best thing is just to shut up!
By Chibaula Silwamba and Bright Mukwasa
Sat 26 Nov. 2011, 12:00 CAT
LAW enforcement officers have dug up K2.1 billion cash from former minister of labour Austin Liato's farm. And President Michael Sata yesterday said the Mafia-style under which the money was hidden raises serious questions about how the same was acquired.
The combined team of officers from the Zambia Police, Anti Corruption Commission and the Drug Enforcement Commission, conducted a two-hour operation at Liato's farm in Mwembeshi area in Mumbwa on Thursday and recovered the money that was stuffed in safes and steel trunks, buried under two layers of a concrete slab.
Zambia Police spokesperson Elizabeth Kanjela said the law enforcement officers got a tip from concerned members of the public that there was money and vehicles hidden at Liato's farm.
"This is farm number 44 Mpamba settlement scheme and it belongs to Mr Austin Liato. Upon moving in, our officers found that there was some money amounting to K2.1 billion cash and there were safes and some trunks that were buried in an unfinished building," Kanjela explained.
"In one safe there was K1 billion and in the other there was K1.1 billion. The operation started about 16:00 hours and finished after 18:00 hours on 24th November, 2011."
She said the unfinished building where the money was hidden had grill doors.
"Apparently the grilled doors had some alarms. So when the officers opened the grilled doors, the alarm went off. The officers had to break the concrete, but found another concrete slab under which they had to break as well to recover the money," Kanjela said. "Even in the garage where the vehicles are there is an alarm."
She said Liato was not at the farm at the time of the search but the investigators had a search warrant.
"There were some people at the farm that witnessed the breaking and counting of the money. Apart from the money, there were many other things like tractors," she said.
"When the money was being put there, all the workers were chased away and they could only report in the evening. We were not told the dates when the money was put there."
One bundle of cash was indicating March 11, 2010, showing the money was from Bank of Zambia (BoZ) while on another, it indicated March 15, 2011 and Zanaco, a sign that the money was withdrawn from the banking sector last year.
"The purpose of carrying out this operation is to find out how Mr Liato managed to secure a lot of money like this. The way of storage is actually not right according to the Bank of Zambia Act. We will need to investigate," Kanjela said.
Asked whether or not the money belonged to Liato, Kanjela responded: "that cannot be told but at least what we know is that it was found at his farm."
She said Liato would be summoned very soon to explain the source of the money and why he kept it underground.
"We are going to investigate to know the source of this money," said Kanjela.
Liato did not answer his mobile phone but a person who responded to The Post's call said: "He Liato is busy in a meeting" before cutting the line.
Police Inspector General Dr Martin Malama, who was in the company of Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) director general Rosewin Wandi and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) commissioner Alita Mbahwe at dawn at the former Taskforce on Corruption offices where the money was taken for temporal storage, said the matter would be investigated and culprits would be prosecuted.
"This is not harassment, it's not persecution. What Zambians want is justice. So any responsible citizen will not make heroes people who are suspected to have plundered our national wealth. These are criminal cases," Dr Malama said.
"We take it that every responsible citizen will support these criminal investigations that are going on. Our officers from the police, ACC and DEC thank you very much for serving your country. I know it is 03:00hours in the morning. For the press, you are doing a great job for your nation, let us all work together to protect the future of our generation and generations to come and that of our grand children."
He called for thorough investigation of criminal cases for the benefit of Zambians.
"We don't want someone with impunity hiding money underground. This money is meant for the development of this nation," he said. "Fellow officers from Zambia Police, ACC and DEC, this is time to ensure that the worth of the nation is protected. You officers must feel fired up within yourselves to ensure that we investigate these cases."
Dr Malama banned political party cadres from camping outside the investigative wings' offices.
And according to a statement issued by presidential spokesperson George Chellah, President Sata applauded the combined team of Zambia Police Service, DEC and ACC officers for conducting a successful operation that resulted in a seizure of K2.1 billion cash at Liato's farm.
President Sata said he learnt with great shock the discovery of such huge sums of money concealed in a strange and most unusual manner at Liato's farm.
"No doubt, the mafia-style under which this money was hidden raises serious questions about how the same was acquired. It breaks my heart to see how someone could go to such extremes to conceal money if it was legitimately acquired," President Sata said.
"This only goes to show the Zambian people the extent to which the mandate they gave those they entrusted with authority to preside over affairs of state was abused."
He said unearthing a total sum of K2.1 billion buried in two steel trunks under a thick layer of concrete slab in a highly fortified and electronically fitted structure, sends a wrong signal about the image of the country because this is not exemplary behaviour from political leaders.
President Sata said this was just one of the many operations the combined team of investigators was carrying out regarding suspected criminal activities that took place under the previous MMD regime.
"Of late, some suspects have been unreasonably grumbling by issuing pre-emptive statements to try and threaten a duly elected government against carrying out its legitimate mandate. This discovery is a serious indictment on all those elements that may be facing possible charges of corruption and other forms of wrong-doing including those who have seen it opportune and convenient to betray the Zambian people by siding with such people," President Sata said.
"Let me make it abundantly clear that this is just the beginning and our colleagues should not panic or resort to desperate measures of seeking false public sympathy by mischaracterising legitimate investigations as persecution. This is not a witch-hunt, we are moving systematically by taking into consideration all leads and clues into what happened in the past. After all the Zambian people are the complainants and they deserve nothing but the truth."
President Sata urged the investigating wings to ensure that they follow the due process of the law and take to court only those cases they are satisfied with.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Sat 26 Nov. 2011, 12:00 CAT
GEORGE Kunda's defence of the irregular sale of Zamtel is misplaced and must own up, says Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Reuben Lifuka. And Lifuka says State House should have absolutely nothing to do with procurement of services.
Commenting on the revelations about illegalities and irregularities in the sale of Zamtel's 75 per cent shares to LAP Green for US$257 million whereas the Zambian government paid US$334 million to retain its own 25 per cent shares under the reign of former president Rupiah Banda and Kunda as vice-president last year, Lifuka said the Muchinga parliamentarian's statement was unfortunate and misplaced.
"Our advice to Mr Kunda is to stop being hypocritical and simply explain himself and his party on the allegations that are being raised. He should not trivialise the same instruments of governance that he and his colleagues willing utilized, simply because he is not in government," Lifuka said.
"On Mr. Kunda's comments of the commission of inquiries that the outcomes are stage managed, is this an admission of how the MMD used to run such inquiries?"
He said TIZ had received the findings of the Commission of Inquiry on the Zamtel sale, as published in the media, with a sense of great disappointment but with a lot of vindication.
"The findings in actual fact, fortify our decision to join other civil society organizations in the Dennis Chirwa Tribunal against former minister of communications and transport, Hon Dora Siliya. It is important to state the dubious manner in which RP Capital were engaged , firstly to do the valuation of assets and subsequently to act as transaction advisors, is the beginning of the problems associated with the privatization of Zamtel," Lifuka said.
"What is evident from the findings is that former president Rupiah Banda, largely ignored the findings and recommendations of the Dennis Chirwa Tribunal. Clearly, if the president and his cabinet at the time, had acted on these recommendations, the MoU that was purportedly signed by Hon Siliya, would have been cancelled."
He said what was no longer in dispute was that the MoU that committed the Zambians to pay US$2 million for the valuation services and a further US$12 million to RP Capital, was fundamentally flawed and did not adhere to the laid down procedures.
"Reading the findings thus far, gives the impression that there is definitely some vital information which was kept away from the Dennis Chirwa Tribunal about RP Capital and the manner in which their services were procured, which would have probably changed the nature and type of recommendations that the Tribunal made," Lifuka said.
"What makes it worse is that the irregularities in public procurement did not stop with RP Capital but this subsequently extended to the manner in which Lap Green were selected as the winning bidder."
He said this development brought the competence of the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) together with the Banda administration into question.
"The questions to be asked are many but at a minimal one asks what type of due diligence was conducted by RP Capital and later Lap Green. Further, the role of Cabinet comes into question- cabinet approval of the partial sale of Zamtel was necessary and this decision was supposed to be informed by accurate valuation of the Zamtel assets- did cabinet act on this basis and in good faith or personal considerations did override public interests?"asked Lifuka.
"We would like to know why government had to pay US$334 million for retention of 25 per cent shares in Zamtel. We wish to know the market value of Zamtel at the time of sale and whether government did consider this value in arriving at the final price? We want to know why Zambian Valuation Surveyors who are highly competent and experienced were ignored for this valuation exercise, in preference for a company with limited experience in this area?"
He said TIZ recommended that the government should comprehensively and objectively consider the findings of the commission of inquiry and the subsequent decisions taken should be in the best interest of Zambians.
He said the government should consider pursuing all people involved in the Zamtel saga from the former ministers, ZDA senior staff and other government officials.
Lifuka said necessary court actions for abuse of authority and gross negligence should be undertaken.
"It is necessary that government equally considers the breaches that the Dennis Chirwa Tribunal found against Dora Siliya. We fully endorse the recommendations of the commission of inquiry for government to institute civil action against RP Capital, who under the circumstances, failed to do a competent job but ended up being paid US$12 million of funds that could have been put to other national development activities," Lifuka said.
"If indeed Lap Green did not meet the mandatory requirements as stated by the commission of inquiry, government should consider reversing this sale."
He said the corruption and fraudulent tactics should not be the means of selecting a winning bidder.
He said workers' plight must be taken into consideration when making a decision on the Zamtel sale.
"We want to take this opportunity to urge the PF government to have a complete overhaul of the public procurement system which was definitely severely compromised by the MMD government," said Lifuka.
"We want to urge President Sata and his cabinet and ensure that public procurement is handled by the competent bodies. State House should have absolutely nothing to do with procurement of services."
Justice minister Sebastian Zulu and commission of inquiry technical committee chairperson Dimple Ranchhod on Thursday revealed that Kunda's law firm had received a K190 million payment from a Zamtel account.
The commission of inquiry also revealed that the Zambian government paid US$ 334 million about K1.7 trillion to purchase its own 25 per cent shares in Zamtel during privatization.
LAP Green Network, which bought 75 per cent shares in Zamtel last year, has only paid US$ 15 million about K 76 billion to the Zambian government out of the purchase price of US$257 million about K1.3 trillion while RP Capital Advisors - the advisors in the transaction -received a cash payment of about US$ 12.6 million about K 64 billion from the transaction.
The commission of inquiry recommended the termination of agreements relating to the sale of Zamtel's 75 per cent to LAP Green Network for US$257 million.
It also recommended the immediate termination of the illegal agreement in which Zesco ceded its fibre optic network to Zamtel.
By Bright Mukwasa in Chongwe
Sat 26 Nov. 2011, 12:00 CAT
PRESIDENT Michael Sata yesterday refused to predict the outcome of the three parliamentary by-elections scheduled for next Monday, saying his party is not like the MMD. And President Sata says travelling abroad with a large entourage is a costly undertaking.
Speaking before departure to Nakonde where he has gone to drum up support for that constituency's candidate Abel Sichula, President Sata refused to weigh the chances of the PF in the coming by-elections.
"That is why there is an election. If we knew we were winning, there would be no election. We are not MMD, that is why there is an election," President Sata said when asked to state PF's chances in the coming by-elections. "I am saying there is an election, wait for the actual result."
And drumming up support for PF Chongwe parliamentary candidate Sylvia Masebo in Chongwe on Thursday, President Sata said he has not been globe-trotting since assuming office as travelling abroad for heads of state was an expensive undertaking and a drain on the country's treasury.
President Sata said he had not been travelling out of the country because he wanted to save resources for use in the country's needy sectors.
"Before the September elections, I called (former president Rupiah) Banda a mobile president. There was a trip for Comesa heads of state to go to Malawi, I did not go. If I had to go imagine all these policemen who are here would have to come with me. The money I would have spent to put all these people in a hotel, you people you can have a hospital but with no drugs. I can use that money to buy the drugs," President Sata said.
"Another trip to go to Australia came, I refused. I've travelled extensively around the world more than all the presidents that have been in Zambia. I have enough suits I don't need to buy any more suits. My first trip out of State House I went to Mazabuka, I wanted to see for myself because it's one thing to promise and another to deliver."
President Sata has not undertaken any trip abroad since his election over two months ago.
He also described the opposition UPND as a political dustbin.
President Sata said the current MMD-UPND contender, Adrian Bauleni, in the Chongwe parliamentary by-election was sent back from the Democratic Republic of Congo as Ambassador and got so upset, forcing him to resign from MMD.
"Today the dustbin you have in Zambia since Anderson Mazoka died is UPND. The leader of UPND Hakainde Hichilema has never been a ward chairman, branch or constituency chairman. How can you have a leader who has not been trained?" he asked.
President Sata urged the people of Chongwe to vote for Masebo as she had demonstrated her capacity to perform.
"Sylvia is arrogant and courageous. She did not fear Levy Mwanawasa, she did not fear Banda Rupiah, in fact, Banda feared her. And because of this lady you voted against me in 2008. Masebo can argue, she doesn't fear anybody that's the beauty about her," he said.
President Sata said Masebo had a proven track record unlike the people contesting against her.
He thanked the short-lived area parliamentarian Japhen Mwakalombe for his decision to resign and not to join a clique of a corrupt regime.
President Sata said his government would work to build roads, three secondary schools and upgrade some health centres within Chongwe district.
And Masebo appealed to the people to vote for her given her track record.
Masebo said if voted into office, she would have access to the government and initiating developmental programmes would be easier.
Prior to the rally, President Sata paid a courtesy call on senior chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II.
Chieftainess Nkomeshya urged President Sata to use his popularity to serve the people.
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Sat 26 Nov. 2011, 12:00 CAT
THE United Party for National Development should consider marrying many Bemba women if they want to produce a Tonga Zambian President, says Lusaka Province minister Miles Sampa. And Sampa says there is need to guard against tribal and ethnic politics.
Contributing to the debate on the 2012 national budget, Sampa who is also Patriotic Front Matero member of parliament said demographic distribution favoured Bemba ethnic grouping to be in the majority.
"According to the Central Statistic Office records, there are 6.5 million Bembas in Zambia, representing 55 per cent of the total population and 1.6 million Tongas, representing 12 per cent of population in Zambia," Sampa said.
"This does not mean Bembas are superior over any of the other 72 tribes. It just means that statistically and using the laws of averages, laws of probability, under a normal distribution curve, one is likely to find more Bembas in any set up or grouping in Zambia. It also means that for a Tonga to become a President, they would need support from the Bembas. I regard myself a Tonga from Kalomo where I grew up and Mr Speaker, the UPND should consider marrying many Bemba women."
Sampa denounced politics of tribalism and ethnic inclinations.
"I appeal to Honourable members and all Zambians to guard against tribal and ethnic politics," said Sampa.
"The people that point fingers have two fingers pointing at them. All tribes are equal in Zambia. We are one ZambiaMr Speaker we are on, one nation....leaders of a certain small party and their several spokespersons go on paid-up radio stations where the first and second callers are the same daily, preaching hate, more so, against one tribe you love to hate; the tribe they call Bemba. e Zambia, one nation."
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Sat 26 Nov. 2011, 12:00 CAT
THE people on the Copperbelt and Lusaka voted for President Michael Sata because Rupiah Banda had clearly shown that he was a daylight robber, says Fr Frank Bwalya. And the MMD on the Copperbelt says the people in the province voted for the PF because the MMD did not attend to the plight of workers the time it was in government.
Commenting on former president Rupiah Banda's accusations that the people of Lusaka and the Copperbelt caused his defeat in the September 20 general elections by voting overwhelmingly for Michael Sata, Fr Bwalya who is Get Involved Zambia executive director said the former president must keep quiet as he was the one responsible for the sufferings many Zambians were going through.
He said Banda returned to politics to steal public funds and to destroy the country as evidenced by many ‘dirty deals' that he engaged the government in and were now resurfacing.
Fr Bwalya said communication along the line of rail between Copperbelt and Lusaka was so good that it did not take long before many people realised that if they allowed Banda to continue as Republican president, the country would have collapsed.
"We are now advising Mr. Rupiah Banda to keep quiet because he destroyed our country. The same advice we gave to the late Frederick Chiluba to say keep quiet and he didn't listen and we therefore started calling him lazo thief is the same advice we are giving to Rupiah Banda. Let him keep quiet. The man (Rupiah Banda) went as far as lying about where his parents were born. He committed a criminal offence. He occupied State House illegally," Fr Bwalya said.
He said the new PF government should make sure that they don't make silly mistakes that would overshadow the important achievements that they may be scoring.
Fr Bwalya said the PF should concentrate on addressing real issues that would uplift the living standards of the majority people.
"The PF has done very well in some areas…Some of the bad things they have done are denting their image in a manner that is even taking away the positive things. The new government should execute duties in the best interest of the country," said Fr Bwalya.
And MMD Copperbelt information and publicity secretary Yotam Mutayachalo said the massive defeat of Rupiah Banda was expected because issues of workers and the operations of the mines were not addressed.
Mutayachalo said the MMD was the brainchild of the workers and people were bitter that the government had betrayed them because many issues of national interest that were raised were ignored.
By Allan Mulenga
Sat 26 Nov. 2011, 11:59 CAT
GEORGE Kunda's showering of praises on The Post is a surprising turnaround, says Dr Isaac Phiri. Commenting on former vice-president Kunda's statement in Parliament that The Post had taken a good stance of criticising the Patriotic Front government over wrong decisions it has been making, Dr Phiri, who is University of Zambia (UNZA) senior lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication said Kunda was unfairly opposed to the reporting that was done by The Post.
"I think what Mr George Kunda is saying according to today's (yesterday's) reports is a surprising turnaround because when those people were in power they were very aggressive, sometimes almost unfairly opposed to the reporting that was done by The Post," he said.
Dr Phiri urged politicians to be balanced when dealing with the media to avoid embarrassing themselves.
"I think public leaders must learn to be balanced at all times in dealing with the media so that they don't have to find themselves in a situation where you have to turn around, you have to jump fences literally once your position has been taken over by others," he said.
Dr Phiri said it was difficult for media professionals to believe what Kunda was saying about The Post, saying the former vice-president overtly opposed to what the newspaper stood for.
"It is difficult for me as a media consumer and a media scholar to believe what is being said now about The Post when they were so overtly opposed to what the newspaper was doing," he said.
Dr Phiri urged Kunda to apologise to the newspaper for misunderstanding its operation.
"He Kunda has to be apologetic. People are apologising now, maybe this is the time to say ‘we misunderstood what The Post stood for, we misunderstood the message of The Post, now that we are in the opposition, we appreciate because we actually have the space ourselves to be covered well'," he said.
Dr Phiri said politicians needed to be consistent in their dealings with the media regardless of their positions in society.
"The lesson to be learnt is that politicians must learn to be consistent in their messages all the times, so that they don't have to do an about-turn when they go out of power or in power. They should continue with the same message. It is good in democracy to be consistent about a certain message continuously," said Dr Phiri.
By Darious Kapembwa in Kitwe
Sat 26 Nov. 2011, 12:00 CAT
DO not engage in any form of corruption if you want to stay in employment, Kennedy Sakeni has told police officers. And police officers in Kitwe have rejected the blue uniform introduced by the MMD government last year.
Speaking when he addressed senior officers from various units at Kamfinsa Training School on Thursday, Sakeni, who is home affairs minister, warned that corrupt officers had no place in the police force.
"If you are corrupt, your days are numbered. Avoid corruption of all forms. At least we don't have problems with you Mobile Unit officers, but complaints of corruption are rampant with traffic police," Sakeni said.
During the same gathering, officers unanimously told Sakeni not to purchase the new-look uniforms that were introduced in the service by the Rupiah Banda-led MMD government.
This was after Sakeni asked police officers to freely air their grievances on their operational problems.
"This uniform is a bad one," said one police officer as others joined in the condemnation amidst laughter.
Sakeni agreed with the officers' misgivings on the issue, saying he and President Michael Sata had noticed the ‘strange uniform' during the campaign trail in the run-up to the September 20 tripartite elections.
"How can you distinguish officers from security guards that wear this uniform?" Sakeni wondered.
Meanwhile, Kamfinsa Mobile division commander Peacewell Mweemba revealed the numerous problems that faced the institution.
"We have no training aids like rubber bullets, transport, housing and water. These are very serious challenges sir," Mweemba explained.
He said there were only 500 housing units against the population of 1,200 officers.
"Sewer spillages are posing a danger to the lives of officers and their families. There is no adequate accommodation for both male and female trainee officers and also feeding our officers spread around the eight provinces is a challenge due to the shortages of food rations," said Mweemba.
Sakeni, however, promised that the government would find money even if there was no provision in the budget to ensure that rubber bullets and other training materials were procured.
"Many a time you are blamed for using live bullets when in essence you do not have proper non-lethal machinery to quell unrest and civil uprisings," Sakeni said.
And Sakeni, who toured many police stations in Kitwe unannounced, warned police officers that are reportedly conniving with jerabos organised criminal gangs that they would soon be ‘finished'.
Sakeni directed Kitwe district officer commanding Chibesa Musa to immediately arrest the Kalulushi man who was drugging young girls and later on unleash his bull dog to have sexual intercourse with the girls.
The man is believed to be on the run with the aid of some police officers in Kalulushi who were allegedly bribed to secure his freedom.
By Mwala Kalaluka in Beijing, China
Sat 26 Nov. 2011, 11:59 CAT
CHINESE government departments are legally bound to avail information concerning them which the public have a right to know, says a state information officer. And the Chinese government says the supervision of the country's fast-paced Internet technological development will be managed within the confines of the law.
During a Chinese government-organised seminar for information officers from English-speaking countries at Beijing's 21st Century Hotel on Tuesday, deputy director general of the Information Office of the State Council, Hua Quing, said only in exceptional circumstances can information be withheld.
Hua was responding to a question from The Post on whether China had an information law.
"China has a lot of laws and regulations concerning information release, press and publication. Let me cite the two latest ones and the ones which have been given the most attention by the public," he said.
"On May 1st, 2008, we enacted the regulation on the information release of government departments of China. According to that regulation, government departments in China must open the information concerning them which the public have a right to know."
He said this regulation was usually referred to as China's ‘Sunshie Law'.
"For example, according to this regulation, all the laws and regulations adopted by the Chinese Legislature, all the policy measures and actions and decisions and notices taken by government agencies must be released online," Hua said.
"That's to say the citizens have a right to demand the ministry to release the information. If they make such demand, the government agencies have to do accordingly."
He said another information law is the Law of PRC, which concerns the response to incident and emergencies.
"This law stipulates clearly the action and measures the government agencies should take in the wake of incidents and emergencies. The law also stipulates that after each major disaster or incident, the government has to release information," Hua said. "The law stipulates that government agencies and officials shall not conceal information concerning incidents or report partially or report fake information to the public, otherwise they will be held accountable."
He said China had laws that stipulated what category of information should not be availed to the public.
"As you know China is now building a market economy and this year marks the 10th anniversary of China's ascension to the World Trade Organisation and as we are building a market economy we have to play by market rules," said Hua.
"So information regarding market secrets or business secrets should not be released to the public."
By Edwin Mbulo in Choma
Sat 26 Nov. 2011, 11:59 CAT
MICHAEL Sata needs to leave a legacy of having been the only President to come up with a constitution that will stand the test of time, says an MMD Mbabala official. And Chileshe Mwamba says MMD leaders who are tainted with corrupt practices should not attempt to contest the party's presidency.
In an interview, Mwamba, who is MMD Mbabala Constituency chairman, said the PF should take a leaf from the MMD over the constitution-making process, especially over the 50 per cent plus one clause.
"The MMD tried to reject this 50+1 clause thinking that we would defeat the PF. But now if you look at the last election results and the so called pact of the MMD and UPND, we would have gone into a re-run and probably defeat Sata on the 50+1 clause," Mwamba said.
On the MMD leadership, Mwamba said leaders accused of abusing party campaign materials such as bicycles which should have been used by the MMD officials during the campaigns should not be entertained.
"People who are mentioned in corrupt practices should never think of ever contesting the MMD presidency. For instance, the issue of bicycles which should have been used by the people were found with leaders who now claim to be good leaders," Mwamba said.
He said the so-called UPND-MMD pact only existed in the minds of a few top leaders in the two opposition political parties and through the press.
"If we are not careful the MMD will just be members of parliament without any grassroots levels," Mwamba said.
"If you look at what is happening in Magoye, Nakonde and other areas where there are ward by-elections, we as the MMD are being viewed as people who are corrupt. Even the so-called pact, we are not informed of what is going on the Magoye campaigns. I personally put my prediction on a PF victory."
He said the PF should be wary of the people that are defecting to the ruling party as they are ones who tainted the MMD with corruption.
Mwamba added that the MMD in Mbabala was re-organising itself in readiness for the 2016 general elections.
"…As of now, the MMD will support any form of anti-corruption fight embarked on by President Sata," said Mwamba.
TIME PUBLISHED - Saturday, November 26, 2011, 10:15 am
George Kunda and Company Law Firm has disputed revelations that it benefited 190 million Kwacha out of the sale of ZAMTEL. The firm says the revelation is shocking.
George Kunda and Company Partner Ireene Kunda says the firm only received 100 million Kwacha from Zambia Development Agency -ZDA in 2010, as legal fees with regards to the sale of Savoy Hotel.
Mrs Kunda who is also wife of former Vice President George Kunda says the matter was out-standing since 1997.
She alleged that ZAMTEL Technical Committee Chairperson Dimple Ranchhod released unverified information.
Mrs Kunda also lamented that the Technical Committee did not invite her legal firm to exculpate it self.
This is contained in a statement released to ZNBC news in Lusaka on Friday.
TIME PUBLISHED - Saturday, November 26, 2011, 10:05 am
IN the continued crackdown meant to bring sanity to the road sector, the Government has terminated the K117 billion-contract awarded to Jianjsu Wjin Corporation for the construction of roads in Kabwe and Kapiri Mposhi districts.
This comes barely five days after the Government cancelled the K80-billion contract awarded to politician, Ben Mwila’s company, Wade Adams Piling, for the construction of part of the Mumbwa-Landless Corner Road in Central Province.
Road Development Agency (RDA) head of public relations, Loyce Saili, said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that Jianjsu Wjin Corporation Limited was awarded the contract to construct urban roads in Kapiri Mposhi and Kabwe but failed to meet the terms of the contract.
Ms Saili said RDA had now instituted measures to recover the money from the Chinese company so that the tender could be given to another firm.?? This brings the total amount of money that RDA is trying to recover from the two companies to more than K130 billion.
Ms Saili said Jianjsu Wjin Corporation Limited was paid K17.5 billion as advance payment for the road projects that were commissioned in May and were expected to be completed this month. Nothing tangible has taken place on the ground.??She said RDA had written to the bank that guaranteed the funds asking for a refund to ensure that the project did not suffer.
Ms Saili said Jianjsu Wjin was contracted to work on a 34-kilometre road network in the two towns but deserted the project and that the work was below satisfactory levels.??
She also said the contract provided that the Chinese firm should have made available a performance bond within 28 days after the contract was done but failed to do so.??
“This amounts to a fundamental breach of the contract. So as RDA, we had no choice but to terminate the contract. We are in the process of trying to procure another contractor to improve roads in Kabwe and Kapiri Mposhi,” Ms Saili said.
She said RDA had re-aligned its procedures following high levels of irresponsibility exhibited by some contractors. She said RDA was compiling performance records of all contractors and those that would show a poor record would be blacklisted.
Ms Saili said RDA did not want to deal with “makeshift” contractors because it wanted roads to add value to the economy.
“We will be firm in our monitoring and supervision of all the contracts. This will involve sending reminders at every stage where we think work is not being done accordingly,” Ms Saili said.
The company was running as a joint venture with a Zambian consultant.?The letter of termination was written on September 28, 2011 asking the firm to surrender the project back to RDA for deserting and failing to meet the terms in the contract.
Apart from Jianjsu Wjin Corporation, RDA terminated a road construction project valued at about K80 billion with a performance bond of K8 billion for a company owned Mr Mwila.
Mr Mwila is president of National Democratic Focus (NDF) and contested the Nchelenge parliamentary seat on the MMD ticket during the September 20 general elections.
[Times of Zambia]
TIME PUBLISHED - Saturday, November 26, 2011, 10:10 am
Forum for Leadership Search Executive Director Edwin Lifwekelo says the discovery of 2.1 Billion kwacha at former Labor Minister Austin Liato’s farm borders on economic sabotage.
Mr. Lifwekelo says the Patriotic Front government is being vindicated in its fight against corruption. He was speaking in a statement released to ZNBC on Friday.
A team of police on Friday morning dug up money worth 2.1 Billion kwacha at Mr. Liato’s farm, buried under the ground.
The operation took place around 01;30 hours on Friday morning.
Posted by By Professor Tshuma at 26 November, at 06 : 21 AM
FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti failed to recognize the importance of the World Tourism Organisation General Assembly which is to be co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in 2013 by failing to allocate funds for the refurbishment of Victoria Falls airport.
In his 2012 budget presentation, Biti allocated US$10 million for Joshua Mqabukho Nkomo Airport and US$7, 5 million for the Harare International Airport and could not give even a single cent to the Victoria Falls Airport.
The conference will take place in Vic Falls and analysts say the airport should be refurbished in preparations for the General Assembly.
He allocated money to the Victoria Falls Town Council saying the money should be used for the preparations of the WTO General Assembly.
An official from the Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development who asked for anonymity said the Minister deliberately left out the Vic Falls for a purpose he knows.
He said the Vic Falls airport was at the epicenter of the event as the event will be held in Victoria Falls and it was a clear cut prerequisite that it needed to be supported.
“We were all expecting him to give the Vic Falls airport some money for refurbishment because it is really in a sorry state,” he said.
“The airport is the receiving port of the visitors and there was no reason of leaving it out.
“Yes he gave the Vic Falls town council some money but it can not be extended to the airport as the town also needs to refurbish itself and not the airport.”
In a related development, the Ministry of Tourism and Hospitality Industry has revealed the establishment of a tourist visa (Univisa) for the Southern Africa Development Community which should become reality by 2013.
This means a Sadc Univisa will coincide with the co-hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly conference by Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Acting director for Domestic Tourism Directorate in the Ministry Mr. Douglas Runyowa said notwithstanding complications inherent with coming up with a multi-nation visa, players in the region were targeting to have a Univisa in the next couple of years.
“The tourism sector believes that a single visa (Univisa) for Sadc will considerably improve ease of travel and the flow of visitors to and within the region.
“Despite the complexities that come with opening up markets of sovereign countries to unhindered tourist flow, the region is targeting to have the Univisa by 2013. In terms of its establishment, we will also draw lessons from experiences from other regions where such initiatives have been set up,” he said.
Runyowa, however, added that if the 2013 deadline is missed there would at least be (by then) a provisional tourist visa for the transfrontier park between Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Angola and Botswana.
Southern Africa’s tourist draw cards include wildlife, a rich variety of wilderness areas and natural wonders of the world, sandy beaches, mountain ranges and a rich historical and cultural heritage which straddle across national borders.
To this extent, tourism players in the region believe that the Univisa can facilitate the entry of international and domestic tourists to the region, hence positively benefiting the respective economy member countries in terms of job creation, financial impact (revenue to the tourism sector and balance of payments improvement), fiscal revenue and growth in national Gross Domestic Product.
The Sadc Univisa initiative is being driven by the Regional Tourism Organisation of Southern Africa (Retosa), a body that brings together the 14 Sadc members including Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Retosa’s 47th ordinary board meeting began in Bulawayo yesterday.
Zimbabwe is the outgoing chair of Retosa while Mozambique is the incoming chair.
Acting Director for International Tourism Directorate in the Tourism Ministry Douglas Mavhembu last week said the Retosa meeting would help the country in engaging regional support for the country’s hosting of the 2013 UNWTO General Assembly conference.
“The 47th ordinary Retosa board meeting is being held at a time when Zimbabwe and Zambia have just won their bid to co-host the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly.
“What this means is that the forthcoming General Assembly is a regional affair, and both Zimbabwe and Zambia would like to leverage on expertise, solidarity and support from every single member of Sadc/Retosa to ensure the success of the event,” he said.
Posted by By Our reporter at 26 November, at 05 : 10 AM
ZIMBABWE’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti on Thursday presented a 4-billion national budget statement.
While some have described the statement as pro-poor and progressive, others say the fiscal statement was populist and predictable. The 2012 national budget statement projects a 9.4% economic growth next year.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries President, Dr. Joseph Kanyekanye, who described the statement as expansionary and consistent with the Medium Term Plan, applauded the Minister for recognising the important role played by the mining and agriculture sectors.
He added that there is need to leverage the country’s sound resource base for the attainment of sustainable economic development.
Business Council of Zimbabwe Chairman, David Govere, welcomed financial support extended to industry in particular the US$60 million earmarked for broader Industrial Revival Fund.
He, however, said more needs to be done in supporting agriculture and value addition.
Describing the budget as ambitious, economic analyst, Kipson Gundani said the 2012 national budget’s thrust towards social investments is welcome in as far as it creates employment and sustainable economic growth.
Tax reform has been one of the major highlights of the 2012 budget with the suspension of duty on products that are locally produced, adjustment of the tax free threshold from US$225 to US$250, as well as review of royalties on gold and platinum upwards from 4.5% and 5% to 7% and 10% respectively.
Tax expert, Masaire, who welcomed the tax measures, however believes the proposed penalties on fiscalised tax registers as well as the 45% top bracket tax are burdensome.
Against the expectations of the civil servants, the Finance Minister did not adjust the salaries of the civil servants, arguing that recurrent expenditure is accounting for around 63% of the total budget.
Biti’s failure to allocate funds for the 2012 elections has been a major talking point. His theme of sustaining an inclusive growth with jobs has also been perceived by other sectors as denying the empowerment approach in preference to his party’s manifesto which chooses to rather focus on jobs.
You can download the full report by clicking this link:
Posted by By Our reporter at 26 November, at 05 : 38 AM
Vice President, Mrs Joice Mujuru has urged the Zimbabwe Republic Police to maintain peace before, during and after the forthcoming referendum which will be followed by general elections.
Addressing senior government officials and police officers at a graduation ceremony of 420 police officers held at the Morris Depot in Harare, Mujuru said government will maintain its stance of zero tolerance to political violence.
She said the police must take a leading role in ensuring that the referendum and the general elections are held in a peaceful environment and reminded political parties to desist from engaging in political violence.
“I would like to urge the ZRP to build in their success of policing previous elections by ensuring that our people are once again afforded opportunity to vote in tranquillity and enabling environment. May I also encourage political leaders to desist from stirring up violence but instead urge their supporters to be tolerant,” she said.
Mujuru also called on all Zimbabweans to support government programmes such as the indigenisation policy, which is aimed at empowering ordinary citizens.
“In this same vein, let me underscore the need for all Zimbabweans from all walks of life to embrace and support government’s empowerment programmes which are meant to address colonial imbalances. Zimbabwe is a country that is endowed with abundant natural resources, so it is therefore our responsibility to ensure that sons and daughters of this nation enjoy the benefits,” Mujuru said.
After the graduation, Mujuru commissioned a dedication tower which is a replica of the Great Zimbabwe.
The tower is a symbol of the ZRP’s dedication to safeguarding the interest of the nation and a zero tolerance stance to imperialists’ ideologies.
The colourful graduation saw the police officers displaying their highest standards of discipline through drills.
TIME PUBLISHED - Friday, November 25, 2011, 12:10 pm
JUSTICE Minister Sebastian Zulu has asked top leaders in the previous government to stop issuing negative statements about the Zamtel Commission of Inquiry findings as some of them allegedly benefited alot from the proceeds from the privatisation of the telecommunications company.
Mr Zulu has revealed that a well-known law firm owned by one of the top MMD officials allegedly benefited over K190 million from the Zamtel privatization exercise.
The minister, who described the sale of Zamtel as “fraud and economic sabotage” said at a Press briefing in Lusaka yesterday that it was unfair that former MMD top officials who benefited were now in the forefront condemning the outcome of the inquiry without shame.
“Let these named MMD top officials declare interest in the Zamtel sale because a law firm received K190 million from Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) for unknown services.
These findings were not stage-managed, whoever is saying this is just trying to cover up something,” the minister said.And a team of experts hired by the commission of inquiry to do a thorough research on the sale of Zamtel and its assets discovered that ZDA had a suspense account in which legal fees were paid with all supporting documents.
And justice Minister Sebastian Zulu disclosed that LAP GREEN is externalising its capital following the recent inquiry into the privatisation of the telecommunication company.
And Chairperson of the technical committee constituted to inquire into the sale of Zamtel, Dimple Ranchhod says George Kunda and Company legal firm was paid 190 million kwacha during the procurement of the ZAMTEL deal.
Mrs Ranchhod says the revelation on the payment of the same funds to the legal firm was discovered at the Zambia development Agency -ZDA-
She also divulged that RP capital did not evaluate ZAMTEL assets.
The K190 million payment to the legal law firm allegedly had no supporting documents.Chairperson of the experts committee, Dimple Ranchhod, said upon questioning the ZDA chief accountant on the K190 million paid to one of the top officials in the MMD, it was discovered that the money was allegedly not paid for legal services but for unspecified services.
“ZDA failed to show the committee any documentation supporting the payment of the K190 million to a named legal firm,” Mr Ranchhod said.
“Let these named MMD top officials declare interest in the Zamtel sale because a law firm received K190 million from Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) for unknown services.
Meanwhile, Citizens Forum executive director Simon Kabanda has said it is irresponsible for former vice-president George Kunda to claim that the findings were stage-managed when the commission of inquiry was just confirming earlier findings by the Dennis Chirwa-led rribunal.
Mr Kabanda also called for the immediate reversal of the 75 per cent sale of Zamtel to Libya’s LAP Green given the irregularities that had come to the fore.
Mr Kabanda said in Lusaka yesterday that the irregular and fraudulent manner that Zamtel was sold had already been observed by civil society organisations which petitioned the matter before the tribunal.
He said it was clear from the onset that there were some irregularities in the manner that the former government of the MMD undertook the privatisation of Zamtel.
“It is surprising that George Kunda could come out this way because the issues coming out now are not new. You will recall that the civil society organisations had taken this matter to a tribunal and a lot of irregularities were found, only that then Communications and Transport minister Dora Siliya was being shielded by the former government,” Mr Kabanda said.
[Times of Zambia]
(LUSAKATIMES) President Sata Commends Security Services’ successful overnight operation at Ex-Minister ’s farmPresident Sata Commends Security Services’ successful overnight operation at Ex-Minister ’s farm
TIME PUBLISHED - Friday, November 25, 2011, 2:00 pm
President Michael Sata, has applauded the combined team of Zambia Police Service, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) for conducting a successful operation that resulted in a seizure of K2.1 billion cash at Mr Austin Liato’s Mumbwa farm.
The President said he has learnt with great shock, the discovery of such huge sums of money concealed in a strange and most unusual manner at the former labour minister’s farm.
“No doubt, the Mafia-style under which this money was hidden raises serious questions about how the same was acquired. It breaks my heart to see how someone could go to such extremes to conceal money if it was legitimately acquired,” the President said.
“This only goes to show the Zambian people the extent to which the mandate they gave those they entrusted with authority to preside over affairs of state was abused.”
The President said unearthing a total sum of K2.1 billion buried in two steel trunks under a thick layer of concrete slab in a highly fortified and electronically fitted structure, sends a wrong signal about the image of the country because this is not exemplary behaviour from political leaders.
President Sata said this is just one of the many operations the combined team of investigators were carrying out regarding suspected criminal activity that took place under the previous regime.
“Of late, some suspects have been unreasonably grumbling by issuing pre-emptive statements to try and threaten a duly elected government against carrying out its legitimate mandate. This discovery is a serious indictment on all those elements that may be facing possible charges of corruption and other forms of wrong-doing including those who have seen it opportune and convenient to betray the Zambian people by siding with such people,” the President said.
“Let me make it abundantly clear that this is just the beginning and our colleagues should not panic or resort to desperate measures of seeking false public sympathy by mischaracterising legitimate investigations as persecution. This is not a witch-hunt, we are moving systematically by taking into consideration all leads and clues into what happened in the past. After all the Zambian people are the complainants and they deserve nothing but the truth.”
He urged the investigating wings to ensure that they follow the due process of the law and take to court only those cases they are satisfied with.
Saturday, 19 November 2011 13:02
Zimbabwean businesses exporting goods and services into the lucrative South African market face the spectre of seeing their R1,8 billion market significantly shrink, as the South African government will in the next two weeks begin rolling out measures to ensure that 75 percent of procurement is local.
Representatives from the SA government, business, labour and the community on October 31 signed a Local Procurement Accord designed to provide benchmarks, timelines and commitments from all the signatory constituencies on how the plan will be executed.
According to South African Department of Trade and Industry, the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, which essentially gives legal effect to the accord, will come into operation from December 7.
Industrialists and market watchers believe that Zimbabwean businesses and, by extension, Government, will take a serious financial hit, particularly at a time when fledgling local companies are beginning to find their feet after a decade of economic decline.
In addition, the negative trade balance with the southern neighbour is forecast to widen as exports are expected to decline while imports are projected to continue rising.
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner and last year local companies exported R1,4 billion (US$175 million using the 1:8 exchange rate) worth of goods.
However, imports onto the local market rose to R15,1 billion (US$1,9 billion).
By August this year exports had already increased to R1,8 billion (US$225 million).
Virtually all sectors of the economy will be affected by the imminent measures from Pretoria, as products that have been designated for the first phase of the procurement rollout include buses, power pylons, railway rolling stock, pharmaceuticals, set-top boxes, clothing, textiles, leather footwear and food and canned products, including office furniture and school furniture.
South African businesses will submit products that they recommend to be designated by the end of this month.
Local firms widely expected to experience a tight squeeze as the measures take effect are Turnall Holdings, which recently re-launched its exports into the South African market; Caps Holdings, whose drug exports to
the neighbouring country were only allowed through air transport, and firms in the clothing and textile industries, most of which are already experiencing working capital constraints.
In particular, Turnall Holdings commissioned its new non-asbestos plant in the first quarter of this year to counter the effects of an asbestos ban imposed by South Africa in 2008.
The new state-of-the-art plant based in Bulawayo uses cellulose fibre and PVA to manufacture a diverse range of products, but it is feared that procurement policies in South Africa will scupper the firm’s latest attempt to enter the South African roofing market.
Pharmaceutical company CAPS Holdings, which delisted in September, is also likely to see its lucrative market shrink since the landing price of its products was already being affected by SA regulations mandating drugs to be transported via air transport as compared to road transport, which is considered cheaper.
Other companies that had carved a niche market in South Africa are also expected to be similarly affected.
Major exports to Africa’s biggest economy include tobacco (partly or wholly stemmed and stripped), cotton (not carded or combed), nickel (not alloyed), which contributed R225 million, R138 million and R173 million respectively.
There are concerns that the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign, which was launched earlier this year to stimulate economic growth and promote local employment, is losing steam, a development that is likely to affect economic growth, considering developments in the region.
Economists believe that the South African local procurement promotion project is well articulated, well marketed and aggressive enough to begin to negatively impact on Zimbabwe’s export growth prospects.
“Social partners commit to a national campaign in partnership with Proudly South Africa, to create awareness on the economy-wide benefits of buying locally manufactured products. The potential benefits of economic growth, job creation, income generation and competitiveness of South African products will be highlighted to business enterprises, workers and consumers.
“Social partners will also initiate and support public education programmes on the importance of ‘labels of origin’ in order to promote fair and legal trade with other countries.
“Constituencies further commit to co-operate with the South African Revenue Service and will work with enforcement agencies to prevent illegal imports and dumping of unsafe products, which destroy domestic enterprises and jobs, and pose health risks,” reads part of the signed accord.
The South African government has since made an undertaking that all state enterprises, public entities, local and provincial governments will align themselves to the new public procurement policies beginning next month.
Assessments of how the interventions would have influenced public spending, investment and employment will begin in June next year, with annual assessments made thereafter.
SA businesses have since strategically positioned themselves to benefit from the new policy regime by forming the South African Supplier Diversity Council (SASDC), which is supported by companies that are the largest procurers of goods and services in the economy.
In essence, SASDC will establish the mechanism to provide access to a reliable database of certified bona fide black-owned manufacturers of goods and producers of agricultural products.
Labour has also committed to align investment philosophies and strategies of their pension funds to advance local procurement.
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) chief economist Mr Kipson Gundani told The Sunday Mail Business last week that South Africa seemed to be more focused than local players, adding that the new policy was likely to present a major challenge for the country.
“Given the fact that South Africa is the country’s major trading partner, new developments in that market could be a major challenge for us, as our exports are likely to be depressed.
“The problem that we seem to have as a country in promoting our own procurement policies are challenges mainly associated with inclusivity. For example, the Buy Zimbabwe Campaign seems to have been driven by two to three people.
“Currently, not everyone in the country is aware about the campaign when, in fact, the project is supposed to be distilled to be the daily bread for industry, business and consumers.
“Also, there is this deep-seated notion that foreign goods are always best, which, to me, is basically nonsensical. This culture needs to be remodelled and we need to begin to support each other.
“As a country, we need to appreciate that policies come in packages. If you craft a policy, you need to ensure that it is supportive of the whole value chain as South Africa is doing,” said Mr Gundani.
Buy Zimbabwe Campaign general manager Mr Munyaradzi Hwengwere noted that developments in South Africa were a wake-up call for Zimbabweans, which highlighted the need for the country to add impetus to “our own processes”.
“Our major letdown has been the lack of unity of purpose among the stakeholders who have been involved in the campaign to promote the purchase of local goods and services.
“It is also important to note that we have been lacking the institutional support that is needed to drive this process; we have spoken a lot about local procurement, but done little. However, we have been making some progress as we were on a major recruitment drive.
“In fact, we will be launching the Buy Zimbabwe Week from November 28 to December 2,” explained Mr Hwengwere.
Most of the countries that are feeling the heat posed by the legacy effects of the global financial crisis and, of late, the European debt crisis, are gradually shifting their policies to promote domestic-led growth as opposed to export-led growth.
South Africa, in particular, which has adjusted its interest rates to a 30-year low at 5,5 percent in order to promote growth, is now using every instrument at its disposal — including concentrating on its local market — to ensure that it adds five million jobs by 2020.
Conversely, Zimbabwe has been over-relying on exports mainly of raw materials, but imports remain markedly higher than exports.
Statistics from the Ministry of Finance indicate that last year the country spent US$1 billion on motor vehicle imports, US$1 billion on oil imports and US$100 million on potatoes, a trend that analysts believe is toxic to an economy that is struggling to transition from recovery to growth.-The Sunday Mail
Friday, November 25, 2011
By Chibaula Silwamba
Fri 25 Nov. 2011, 13:55 CAT
GEORGE Kunda's law firm received a K190 million payment from a Zamtel account, according to justice minister Sebastian Zulu and Commission of Inquiry technical committee chairperson Dimple Ranchhod.
And Zulu revealed that LAP Green has started externalising money from Zamtel after his five-member commission of inquiry on the sale of Zamtel unearthed illegalities in the 75 per cent shares privatisation to the Libyans.
Addressing a media briefing at the Ministry of Justice in Lusaka yesterday, Zulu said Kunda, the former Republican vice-president and former minister of justice, should have declared interest instead of accusing the PF government of fault-finding in its investigations.
"If George Kunda & Company were in fact advocates for ZDA in this Zamtel transaction, he should have declared his interest; he should not have started accusing the government. If he is the partner in George Kunda & Company, naturally he shares in the profits of that K190 million transaction," Zulu said.
"I know George Kunda & Company was his company but I am not sure if he is still a partner. But since he is connected to that, he should have declared interest."
Ranchhod, a lawyer who chaired the six-member technical committee, said a lot of information was either deliberately not given to her team or was destroyed.
"What we did discover during our sittings is that there was a suspense account for legal fees that Zambia Development Agency held. Obviously when you are investigating something and an account is called a suspense account, you are definitely going to ask what it's about especially considering that legal fees had been specified; each amount paid to every law firm had been specified and was supported by a bill or invoice," Ranchhod said.
"We did query ZDA on what this suspended legal fees were. It was K190 million, so it's not a small amount. Chief accountant Mr Phiri did come back to us and said, ‘these are fees paid to George Kunda & Company'."
She said the committee demanded that ZDA provide a bill showing the legal services that George Kunda & Company had provided on the Zamtel transaction.
"Instead of coming back with the bill, he came back to us and said, ‘in fact we made a mistake, they George Kunda & Company did some different work'. We said, ‘that is fine but because it was on the Zamtel account, can you please show us a copy of invoice so that we can verify that this was different work and not work related to Zamtel'. But unfortunately to date we have not received a copy of this bill," said Ranchhod.
Ranchhod's committee included Misheck Kaoma a procurement specialist, Cosmas Mwananshiku an accountant, telecommunications specialists Dr Mupanga Mwanakatwe and Emmanuel Mbewe, and Don Zyambo a valuations specialist.
Kaoma, Zyambo, Mwananshiku and Mbewe separately told the media briefing that the Zamtel sale was irregular and illegal.
"We Zambians have lost out huge sums of money in this transaction," said Mbewe.
Meanwhile, Zulu said the Rupiah Banda-led government gave Zamtel for free to LAP Green.
He said the US$257 million, which LAP Green was to pay, was equivalent to a licence fee.
"My information is that right now, Zamtel LAP Green is busy externalising money. Let's say there is US$30 million, there could only be US$1 million in the account. They are busy doing that as a result of this report," said Zulu.
The commission of inquiry revealed that the Zambian government paid US$ 334 million about K1.7 trillion to purchase its own 25 per cent shares in Zamtel during privatisation.
LAP Green Network, which bought 75 per cent shares in Zamtel last year, has only paid US$15 million about K76 billion to the Zambian government out of the purchase price of US$257 million about K1.3 trillion while RP Capital Advisors - the advisors in the transaction - received a cash payment of about US$12.6 million about K64 billion from the transaction.
The commission of inquiry recommended the termination of agreements relating to the sale of Zamtel's 75 per cent to LAP Green Network for US$257 million.
It also recommended the immediate termination of the illegal agreement in which Zesco ceded its fibre optic network to Zamtel.
Highly-placed government source said the commission of inquiry found that Zesco signed the agreement under extreme duress.
"The findings were that a joint technical committee comprising Zamtel and Zesco staff was set up under the auspices of the Communication Authority in July on the understanding that the two parties would seek to rationalise and harmonise their optical fibre network roll-out and expansion plans, based on mutually beneficial and agreed commercial terms," the source said.
"But on the contrary, on October 28, 2009 the Zesco board was informed by its chairman that the Ministry of Finance, as a principal shareholder, was directing Zesco to cede its optical fibre network to Zamtel and to cease all commercial operations on their optical fibre networks."
The source revealed that the commission of inquiry discovered that the then Zesco managing director was under immense pressure to sign the Indefeasible Right of Use (IRU).
"In fact, some named individuals threatened the Zesco managing director with the loss of his job and accused him of dragging his feet and holding up the process," the source said.
"What was also discovered was the unfairness in the sharing of revenue under the IRU whereby 80 per cent was to go to Zamtel and the remaining 20 per cent to Zesco and that the provisions of the IRU would apply to all existing and future optical fibre networks to be rolled out by Zesco."
The source said the whole Zamtel transaction was unfair and unacceptable.
"Actually, whilst the Zesco managing director was on an official trip to Egypt, he was forced into signing the single signature page of the IRU agreement under extreme duress and thereafter faxing it back to Zambia on December 17, 2009. So you can see how this guy was abused in this transaction," the source said.
"On the other hand, the Zamtel board retrospectively approved the IRU in a board meeting held on December 24, 2009 while the Zesco board passed a retrospective board resolution at a board meeting held on January 28, 2010 authorising Zesco to sign the IRU agreement which had, in fact, already been signed by the Zesco managing director on December 17, 2009. Sadly, after that, the contract of employment for the managing director of Zesco was terminated."
By Maluba Jere
Fri 25 Nov. 2011, 13:55 CAT
RECENTLY-retired defence and service chiefs were on Wednesday interrogated by a combined team of officers from the investigative wings over state funds amounting to about K2 billion.
The money in question is believed to have been misappropriated during campaigns for the September 20 general elections.
A source yesterday said that the retired defence and service chiefs - former Zambia Army commander Lieutenant General Wisdom Lopa, former ZAF commander Lieutenant General Andrew Sakala and former ZNS commandant Major General Anthony Yeta - were summoned by the investigative wings to the former Task Force on Corruption offices in Woodlands.
The source said the former defence and service chiefs appeared at the former Task Force offices on Wednesday morning and that some of them went back in the afternoon the same day.
The source also said the generals were questioned on allegations of abuse of authority of office charges relating to about K2 billion believed to have been misapplied during campaigns for the September 20 general elections.
"The investigators said the money is believed to have been misappropriated during the campaigns. They said the service chiefs got this money and used it for other things," said the source.
When contacted for a comment yesterday, Nganga Yalenga who is representing Lt Gen Sakala confirmed the summoning of his client by the law enforcement agencies.
Yalenga said his client was summoned by the investigative wings and appeared before the team in the morning and afternoon.
"Our client was summoned and interviewed for about 2 hours on abuse of authority of office allegations," said Yalenga.
A number of officials from the previous government, among them former mines minister Maxwell Mwale and former education minister Dora Siliya, have appeared before the same team of investigators on alleged abuse of office and state funds.
Siliya has since described her interrogation as "persecution" by President Michael Sata's government.
Upon winning the September 20 elections, President Sata, during his inauguration, promised to fight corruption and prosecute those involved regardless of their status in society, adding that he was "allergic to corruption".
By Gift Chanda
Fri 25 Nov. 2011, 13:30 CAT
US Ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella has advised the government against coming up with a constitution that will serve short-term goals.
Commenting on the composition of the technical team appointed to work on the constitution, Ambassador Storella said it was important to own the process of coming up with the constitution rather than focusing on the membership of the committee.
"It is important to be inclusive. It is important to seriously think beyond the present in changing the constitution. You really want to think about something that is adorable," he said.
"I think the United States' constitution has been around for 200 years with only a few minor modification just because it was done right in the first place."
Ambassador Storella said it was important to recognise that a good constitution was the fundamental basis for good governance for every country.
"I would urge all the people who are involved in the constitution-making process right now to look at the work that has already been done. A lot of very good work has been done by previous committees and commissions in the past. Engage the stakeholders, hear what they have to say and then work very seriously without any specific goals in the near term," he said.
"Think about the long-term. Think about a document that can stand the test of time."
And Ambassador Storella reiterated the need to strengthen institutions that fight corruption in the country.
He said such institutions should be well funded.
"The fight against corruption really needs to be an institutional kind of fight...other than focusing on any specific case or person. I think that it is very important to build up the institutions. Make the Anti-Corruption Commission stronger, make sure that very important institutions like the Auditor General are adequately funded and that is really the right way to go," said Ambassador Storella.
"Really, you should target crimes and not people; that is the way to make Zambia a much more attractive environment for investment for the future."
By Gift Chanda in Chongwe
Fri 25 Nov. 2011, 13:20 CAT
FARMERS in Chongwe yesterday complained of not receiving payments for maize sold to the Food Reserve Agency last farming season despite the government releasing the funds.
During the launch of the ZNFU/Zanaco LIMA credit scheme in Chongwe, Chongwe District Farmers' Association chairperson Derranoh Choonga disclosed that some farmers who sold maize to FRA during the last marketing season have to date not been paid.
Choonga requested the government's intervention in the matter so that farmers could be paid and continue producing.
"Some of our farmers have not yet received their money for their maize that they sold to FRA," Choonga said.
"Therefore, we request the government to intervene to ensure that all farmers are paid as earlier as possible to enable them buy their inputs for this farming season."
But agriculture minister Emmanuel Chenda, who was officiating at the same function and could not give reasons as to why some farmers in the area had not been paid, said he did not understand why the farmers had not been paid when the government recently released the funds.
"I must say that am saddened to learn that there are some farmers that have not been paid here in Chongwe," Chenda said.
"I do not know any reason as to why this should be the situation because your government, the Patriotic Front government, released all the money that was due to the farmers in Chongwe more than two weeks ago."
He promised to follow up the matter.
Meanwhile, Chenda called on the private sector, especially commercial banks, to introduce financial service packages that could help farmers access cheaper credit and affordable short and medium term inputs and asset finance.
"The situation of continued limited access to credit and other financing services by our small scale farmers need to be changed," Chenda said.
"Government efforts alone will not be enough to end the current near absence of credit and other financial services to our small scale in particular in the agriculture sector."
He said the private sector should come on board and assist the government.
Chenda said it was pleasing that ZNFU and Zanaco had risen to the challenge by coming up with a farmer led private LIMA credit scheme as one way of addressing the current limited access to credit and productivity enhancing inputs for farmers.
The LIMA credit scheme is a ZNFU-Zanaco driven initiative that allows farmers access credit for inputs on a collateral basis.
Farmers pay up to 50 per cent of the total cost of inputs before the loan is provided and pay the remaining 50 per cent after the marketing season is over.
The scheme has an insurance cover which cushions both the farmer and the bank by 50 per cent against perils such as floods, drought and fire.
ZNFU first vice-president Dave Gordon said the scheme has so far received overwhelming response from farmers since it was introduced.
He disclosed that the loan portfolio under the scheme this year had been increased to K20 billion from K600 million provided three years ago when the scheme was just introduced.
"There has been a massive increase in demand for this programme from farmers countrywide. This is mainly because it serves to supplement the government efforts under the Farmer Input support Programme (FISP)," he said.
"We are well aware that not all farmers can assess the government FISP. In some cases, the FISP may not cater adequately for all the input requirements of a farmer hence private sector led initiatives such as the Lima credit scheme become the only sustainable alternative."
Gordon said the union hopes to review the scheme in future to fund other crops beyond maize.
He also disclosed that the expansion of the programme to cater for other crops has been limited by lack of availability of certified seeds.
"We therefore urge seed companies to expand seed production," said Gordon.
Butt of jokes ... President Robert Mugabe and VP Mujuru join in the fun
by Veneranda Langa I NewsDay
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai walked into parliament to raucous scenes and cheering by Zanu PF MPs shouting “son-in-law” as his marriage saga continued to titillate the nation.
Tsvangirai, who skipped the Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday, was in the House on Thursday for the 2012 National Budget presentation. As soon as he stepped into the House of Assembly to take his seat, Zanu PF MPs seized their moment. “Our son in law has come,” they shouted.
Tsvangirai at first appeared shocked and disoriented, but quickly composed himself and bowed facing the Zanu PF side as if in acknowledgement of the “respect”.
He took his seat amid the hubbub, conferred with Information Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa and was soon laughing his lungs out himself.
But if Tsvangirai’s entrance had been noisily greeted, the House went into meltdown when Goromonzi West legislator Biata Beatrice Nyamupinga walked in. Nyamupinga is sister to Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo, the woman Tsvangirai reportedly paid lobola for on Monday.
Table-thumping and waving their order papers, MPs - including some from the MDC - shouted almost in unison: “Welcome sister-in-law!” For a while, the House was a total din.
An unfazed Nyamupinga proceeded directly towards Tsvangirai and, in typical African culture, partially knelt before him and greeted the Prime Minister amid more cheers, laughter and rapturous applause from legislators in the House.
Tsvangirai’s aides have been batting away suggestions that he married Tembo at a private traditional ceremony in Mazowe on Monday, suggesting in fact that he had simply paid "damages" – an admission that the 39-year-old businesswoman is pregnant with his twins.
His spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka was quoted on SW Radio Africa on Thursday saying the Prime Minister would make a statement within days to clear up the “confusion”.
The statement cannot come any sooner for Tembo’s family, who accuse Tsvangirai of "dragging our name in the mud" by denying that he had paid lobola for their daughter, a wealthy commodity broker who made her fortune supplying goods to Makro and Jaggers wholesalers.
Tembo’s uncle Simon Karimatsenga said: "Everything was done according to tradition and I, as the head of the family, can testify that Tsvangirai indeed paid lobola for my niece.
"I never heard that Tsvangirai was paying the money and the cattle for other things except for lobola."
The Herald newspaper reported on Friday that a delegation from Tembo’s family had met the Prime Minister and aides on Thursday, at the end of which “Tsvangirai promised that his wife and himself will soon clear the air.”
Tsvangirai, whose wife, Susan, died in March 2009 in a car crash, reportedly has another child with a 23-year-old Bulawayo woman.
Loreta Nyathi threatened to sue Tsvangirai for maintenance before aides moved in and provided accommodation for her and her now nine-month-old baby son named Ethan.
Feminist and former Zimbabwe Union of Democrats (ZUD) leader Margaret Dongo has laid into Tsvangirai, demanding that he “stops dropping his pants”.
"For a Prime Minister who wants to be a President of this country tomorrow, he cannot just go around dropping his pants everywhere," Dongo blasted.
"As a country, we cannot have a leader who has loose morals like what Tsvangirai is exhibiting... As a feminist, I am very angry about the way he doesn't respect women.”
Friday, 25 November 2011 00:00
At least 11 000 hectares of irrigable land has so far been put under tobacco for this agricultural season, an official said on Wednesday. Last season, 52 000 farmers registered to produce tobacco on 65 000 hectares, 13 000 hectares of which was under irrigation.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) chief executive officer Dr Andrew Matibiri told New Ziana much of the crop would be planted as soon as the country began receiving rains. "Most of the planting will start this week since the country has begun receiving rains," he said.
The bulk of Zimbabwe's tobacco is grown under rainfed agriculture.
Tobacco farming has attracted more farmers in the past two years due to the multiple currencies.
Analysts have tipped tobacco production to increase on the back of attractive prices and orderly marketing. Zimbabwe is the world's sixth largest exporter of the flue-cured Virginia tobacco after Brazil, India, the United States, Argentina and Tanzania.
More than 120 million kilogrammes of tobacco were sold last season with the contract system contributing the bulk of the sales.
The country is determined to return to the peak production levels of more than 200 million kg reached in the late 1990s before Western countries imposed economic sanctions which saw most sectors going on a free fall. Last season the industry had projected an output of 77 million kilogrammes to go under the hammer but this was later revised twice, first to 93 million kg and then 114 million kg.
An estimated 250 000 people are directly employed in the production of tobacco.
- New Ziana.
Thursday, 24 November 2011 00:00
Eddie Chikamhi Sports Reporter
THE Mbada Diamonds Cup final craze is fast gripping the domestic football family as the showdown between Premiership champions Dynamos and city rivals Motor Action set for the National Sports Stadium on Sunday edges closer. DeMbare and the Mighty Bulls meet for the third time this season and for the first time in a cup game.
Both sides have made it clear that they would want to become the inaugural winners for the country's flagship knockout tournament. But veteran Motor Action defender Salim Milanzi has backed the Mighty Bulls to win and claim their second piece of silverware this year.
Milanzi said victory for Motor Action would ensure they finish the season on high after they failed to defend their Premiership title and could only settle for third place.
The former Motor Action captain, who missed most of the 2011 campaign due to injury, yesterday said the Mighty Bulls needed to salvage their pride after surrendering the title to Dynamos.
* Dog-eat-dog in Mbada final
Motor Action finished the season third in the league race behind Dynamos and FC Platinum but they have had a good campaign in the Mbada Diamonds Cup where they beat Monomotapa, Blue Ribbon and Zimbabwe Saints to reach the final of this US$1m tournament.
Milanzi said the Mighty Bulls would want to get some form of satisfaction by beating the new league champions to the most lucrative cup title in the domestic game.
"It was disappointing that we couldn't defend our Premiership title. It appeared we were on the right track but then we reached a time when we lost a lot of points while
Dynamos were gaining ground.
"We then picked up late and by the time we came back into it we had already lost ground.
"However, it's now water under the bridge and I think we have a perfect opportunity on Sunday to redeem something. That's the only way we can stop the pain," said Milanzi.
The Mighty Bulls, who experienced a dip in form stretching nearly two months now seem to have rediscovered their touch, to finish the season strongly with victories over Gunners and Black Mambas.
Ironically Motor Action last tasted defeat two weeks ago when they lost 2-0 to Dynamos in a league game at Rufaro. They had beaten the Glamour Boys by the same scoreline in the first leg.
The former Hwange striker challenged his teammates to raise their game on Sunday as they need to add more silverware to the BancABC Sup8r Cup they won during the season.
Motor Action coach Joey Antipas has a full squad at his disposal and indicated early this week that there are no injury worries in his dressing room.
"The chances are 50-50. I think DeMbare have been playing well of late. They are still buoyant after winning the league title and that would need us to be at our best.
"It promises to be a tight game on Sunday because both teams are in good form. We have been preparing for this challenge for a while now. Once it became clear that we were no longer in the running for the championship, we then switched our attention to the cup competition and there is no way anyone at Motor Action would want to miss this chance," said Milanzi.
Milanzi, who battled injury last season, had returned to the pitch at the beginning of the season but again fractured his arm early in the year.
He was among the Motor Action and Dynamos players who joined hands with Mbada Diamonds yesterday to bring an early Christmas cheer to the handicapped children at Isheanesu Home for the Disabled in Glenview.
The diamond miners donated a bulky assortment of goods that included five tonnes of mealie-meal, two tonnes of rice, 1 000 litres cooking oil, 400kg beans, 400kg kapenta, 400kg soya chunks, 400kg salt and 300bags of blankets.
Mbada Diamonds executive George Manyaya said the gesture was part of the company's corporate social responsibility activities.
"We are harnessing diamonds for the people and we believe that every Zimbabwean should benefit from the proceeds, including the disadvantaged sections of the society.
"Christmas is a time for giving and sharing and we thought that the children at this centre should celebrate with their football heroes who are playing in the Mbada Diamonds final this week.
"This is only the beginning and we hope to move places doing the same in the near future," Manyaya said.
Manyaya said the logistics for Sunday's final had now been pout in place with the sponsors and the Premier Soccer League excpective a festive day at the giant stadium.
According to the PSL, advance tickets for the rest of the ground will cost US$2 and the same ticket would be charged US$3 on the match day. Bay 17 and 18 have been demarcated for the VIP and one seat will cost US$20.
The winners will walk away with US$75 000 while the runners-up are set to pocket US$50 000.
"There will be lots of entertainment including a two-hour slot for Alec Macheso before the game. The game featuring local journalists will be played in the morning then we will have schools soccer pitting St. John's from Borrowdale and Chirodzo Primary School of Mbare. Later in the day we will have a surprise curtain raiser which we hope many people will like," said Manyaya.